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Posted July 28, 2015 in Community Blogs, Norwalk

Welcome back Warriors! Last year was a great year.   Iowa and Norwalk set many goals in basic skills and college and work readiness. The results of our Math and Reading scores in Iowa Tests are encouraging. The following data tables represent the most recent results provided by Iowa Testing for each grade level in reading and math when compared to the very competitive AEA 11 schools (Central Iowa) and the entire state of Iowa: (the results lag one year behind)

 

Reading results on Iowa Tests when compared to Central Iowa (AEA 11) and the entire state:

Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8 Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11
Norwalk 88 85 87 81 83 81 96 94 86
AEA 11 80 78 80 77 77 77 85 87 80
Iowa (all) 76 76 74 73 75 75 83 85 79

Please note that each Norwalk grade level performed above averages for central Iowa counterparts and Iowa overall.

 

Math results on Iowa Tests when compared to Central Iowa (AEA 11) and the entire state:

Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8 Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11
Norwalk 90 90 91 91 92 87 93 92 94
AEA 11 77 81 80 79 85 78 80 83 84
Iowa (all) 76 80 77 77 83 75 79 83 84

Please note that each Norwalk grade level performed above averages for central Iowa counterparts and Iowa overall.

 

Work and College Readiness:

The 2013 education reform law (House File 215) directed the Iowa Department of Education to develop a system for evaluating and ranking schools based on their performance in nine areas. The first requirements reported on the website were student proficiency and college and work readiness. The new website allows users to look up each public school and find performance. As of now, the site is limited to proficiency and college and work readiness, but will soon expand to more measures indicating the health of all Iowa public schools.

The scatter plots below represent screen shots of Norwalk’s performance in comparison to Iowa’s 336 school districts. You will see a crosshatch in the top right hand corner. These schools have both high basic proficiency and high college and work readiness in math. Where these lines cross, represents Norwalk’s score. Please note there are only 5 schools of the possible 336 Iowa districts that scored better than Norwalk in BOTH math proficiency and math college and work readiness.

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The second scatter plot represents Norwalk’s performance in comparison to Iowa’s 336 school districts in reading. Again, you will see a crosshatch in the top right hand corner. These schools have both high basic proficiency and high college and work readiness in reading. Where these lines cross represents Norwalk’s score. Please note there are only 20 schools of the possible 336 Iowa districts score above Norwalk in BOTH proficiency and college and work readiness in reading. Unfortunately, many districts are clustered over Norwalk in the screen shot. So, I chose the one that is directly over the Norwalk Score (Southeast Hamilton).

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Other honors which deserve attention:

  • Once again, we are in the top 50 for advanced placement (AP) coursework across Iowa. We are one of only 17 schools that have been on that “Belin-Blank AP College Readiness List” since its inception in 2005.
  • Norwalk Graduation Rate exceeds the state average.
  • Our professional teaching staff is currently in the Teacher Leadership and Compensation Grant from the state of Iowa. Norwalk is one of the early innovators of this statewide honor.

What’s next?

Academically, the United States is increasingly being compared to our counterparts overseas. A beginning inquiry into that international competition has begun. Iowa has selected a small sample of schools to take an international test. Five school districts were chosen to represent Iowa. Even though Norwalk scores well in Iowa, we were interested in understanding how the bar must rise in Norwalk to be considered among the elite schools in the world.   We will be meeting with the international testing group to dissect and receive in-servicing regarding the results on September 25. I will keep you informed of our progress.

Locally, growth will continue to be a pleasant challenge. We certainly prefer it over the population declines occurring in two-thirds of Iowa’s schools. We are certainly blessed in that regard. The board has hired demographers that worked in other fast growing Iowa schools to make population projections. We will be releasing information as it is received.

Statewide, all Iowa schools will be challenged by the recent veto of a spending bill proposed by the house and the senate. Spending will be 1.25% increase over last year. Norwalk board and administration will gauge the impact on staffing and services. That has already begun. We will report responses to the funding as they develop.

I look forward to another outstanding year for the students and families of Norwalk Schools. Norwalk is not a stranger to great successes and tough times. Americanprogress.com identifies Norwalk’s “spending efficiency” in the top twenty-five percent of all Iowa schools. We will continue to look for ways to improve our services and make them more efficient for Norwalk taxpayers.

 

Denny Wulf
National Milken Educator

 





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